Research Assistant Professor, Earth & Space Sciences
Box Number: 351510
Astrobiology Areas of Interest: Habitability & Life on Mars, Space Exploration
In the broadest terms, my research concerns the interactive and evolving relationships between planetary surfaces, volatiles, and environmental conditions. By "surfaces" I mean not just the visible upper surface, but the entire regolith - the porous outer layer covering the bedrock of a planet or moon. By "volatiles" I mean any compounds which can exist in vapor and condensed phases over the range of surface temperatures and pressures on the planet, such as H2O on Earth, CO2 on Mars, or N2 on Triton. And "environmental conditions" include factors such as the planet's orbital parameters. These three components form a strongly coupled system that evolves through time, driven by changes in external forcing such as the solar or geothermal flux.
Much of my work is focused on understanding the microphysical processes that govern the internal response and feedback mechanisms in these coupled systems. My primary objective is to develop mechanistic models - guided by observations and tested by experiment - that can predict the thermodynamic phase, physical properties, fluxes, and spatial distribution of volatiles for any given set of regolith properties and environmental conditions.